Recyclists

Premium Rush rides on cliches

Recyclists
Premium Rush rides on cliches
Ryan Syrek

This is not a good movie. It’s important to establish that early on so that you can understand how an appreciation of its moving parts doesn’t fully remove one central thesis: Premium Rush is crap. It may, however, be somewhat fun crap, depending on your tolerance for scenery chewing, “look how current we are” cultural references and spandex.

Actually, spandex is a good place to start, as Premium Rush is basically a superhero movie, written and directed by David Koepp, who worked on Spider-man. Our hero (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) was once a mild-mannered law student who discovered he had a supernatural gift involving bicycles stripped of gearshifts and brakes. Thus, he dropped out of school and became The Bike Messenger: The man without gears! Okay, he doesn’t call himself that, but he does change his name to Wilee, which is just as stupid.

Wilee loves the rush of being a bicycle courier in New York City in literally the exact same way Patrick Swayze’s character in Point Break loved surfing. His girlfriend, Vanessa (Dania Ramirez) is simultaneously attracted to and repulsed by this fact, as she wants to quit this job and become a boring office worker. Her roommate, Nima (Jamie Chung), requests Wilee from the messenger office to take an important envelope for her. The problem is, this is an envelope also coveted by a degenerate, murderous and corrupt police officer (Michael Shannon) who can only be defeated by street-level GPS.

Let’s just stop right there because you get the idea: cat and mouse chases through dangerous intersections with a lot on the line. It’s not sophisticated and at times it is horrendously executed, culminating in a climactic bike flash mob that apparently stops the villain by being irritating. The backstories given to each character are just goofy and never pay off, including Wilee’s one-time law aspirations, Vanessa’s relationship strife and fellow courier Manny (Wolé Parks) having mad hatred for his nemesis Wilee.

Again, Premium Rush sucks…but… Gordon-Levitt is kind of a perfect hero, an exact match for Spider-man and not a certain pointed bat-cowl he has flirted with. The ground-level action isn’t revolutionary, nor is the gimmicky “start and stop time” trick, but they work in a simplistic, “what the hell” way. And then there’s Shannon.

There is no need to apologize for rolling around in Shannon’s epically hammy, mustache-twirling performance. An entire spin-off featuring just his squeaky-voiced, maniacal and yet somehow totally lazy villain would be an absolute delight. This isn’t Gary Oldman or Al Pancino over-emoting with flecks of spittle flying everywhere; this is something new, something more calculated and controlled. Shannon damn near moved this movie into “actually good” territory.

Good job. Good effort. But no cigar, Mr. Shannon. Premium Rush is done in by its adherence to action routine and lazy writing, combined with a sense of trying way, way too hard to be “fresh,” as though flash mobs aren’t only seen in cell phone commercials now. Still, this is the time when studios take out their trash, dumping the crap between the summer season and awards season. So, at least Premium Rush is fun crap.

Grade = C 

posted at 09:24 pm
on Friday, August 24th, 2012

COMMENTS

(We're testing Disqus commenting (finally!); please let us know if you have trouble.)

comments powered by Disqus

 

« Previous Page


Fashion Backward

The First Monday in May is a feature length-commercial for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s world-famous annual fashion exhibition that quickly turns into a shockingly oblivious confirmation that...

more »


Yas, Queens!

Oh dear God should The Huntsman: Winter’s War not work. Like, it should cause uncontrollable vomiting and permanent erectile dysfunction. So, sweet Jeebus, do I have my work cut out for me here....

more »


Beasts of Burden

The Jungle Book is director Jon Favreau’s “live-action”—if you count an entirely CGI environment with almost entirely CGI characters to be “live-action”—update of the classic Disney tale. A young...

more »


That Boy Ain’t Right

Theoretically, dumping chocolate syrup on top of M&Ms on top of Oreos on top of cookie dough on top of fudge technically tastes “good.” You just don’t get an actual dessert if you do that. What you...

more »


Awake My Soul

Nostalgia, like love, erodes rough edges; it fills in gaps, paints clean what was scuffed, and forgives copious small sins in the name of happiness. I’m sorry, but none of the Star Wars movies have...

more »







Advanced Search